CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday appeared blindsided by Gov. JB Pritzker’s order banning indoor dining in the city of Chicago.
The mayor said she was “very concerned” about Pritzker’s decision, which was made due to a surge in coronavirus cases. On the PBS News Hour, the mayor emphasized that gatherings at people’s homes seem to be the main driver of infection in Chicago, and many restaurants are already on the brink as it is.
“There’s a number of restrictions, and we’re very concerned about them. Our restaurant industry, our bars, our gyms, indoor spaces – if the governor’s order goes into effect, it’s really effectively shutting down a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are really hanging on by a thread,” Lightfoot told PBS News Hour host Judy Woodruff. “So we’re going to continue our engagement with the governor and his team, but it’s not looking good, and if we can’t convince them that some other metrics should apply, then the shutdown, unfortunately, is going to take effect starting on Friday by state order.”
Mayor Lightfoot reiterated a statement she made last week that two thirds of people who have tested positive in Chicago recently have said they got the virus from someone they knew.
“I think that we’ve got to look at what our metrics are. No question, we’re seeing an uptick in cases. We’re also seeing percent positivity go up. But hospitalizations are not at the breaking point like we feared back in the spring, and I think that’s an important metric that needs to have some really significant rank, and also, we’ve got to be very surgical in the way the we impose these new restrictions. The truth is that where we’re the greatest challenges is in people’s homes – in social settings that are not public,” the mayor said.
Given that, the mayor said, “I’m not sure that we’re reaching the right people with the restrictions that are going to be imposed by the state, and that’s my concern.”
Gov. Pritzker announced Tuesday that indoor dining and bar service will be suspended in Chicago on Friday due to rising COVID-19 cases.
It all came just a day after Mayor Lightfoot talked with CBS 2 about the timetable for tightening restrictions.
In a wide-ranging interview, Kozlov asked the mayor, “You’re not like 24 hours away from, for instance, banning indoor dining again in the city?”
“No, we would give a lot more notice if we were going to do something like that,” Lightfoot said on Monday.
But that was, in fact, about 24 hours away from an announcement that tighter mitigation efforts will go into effect for the city of Chicago effective Friday.
“Region 11 is now averaging more than twice as many COVID-related hospital admissions per day as it was a month ago, with a positivity rate that has almost doubled since the beginning of October,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “So, starting on Friday the city, too, will begin operating under our resurgence metrics, with a closure of indoor restaurant and bar service and a restrained gathering cap limit of 25 people. We can’t ignore what is happening around us – because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring. So please, no matter where you live, what your politics are, where you work or who you love: Illinois: mask up! And we’ll get through this together.”
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady earlier said, while she would support the governor if he did move forward with enhanced mitigations for Chicago, she said, “obviously, I’m concerned.”
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, bar and restaurant owners across the city were stunned by the new orders, and hoped the governor and mayor could come to some understanding that would keep people dining in.
Under the governor’s order, clocks are ticking for just how many meals can be served at Sayat Nova, off Michigan Avenue and Ohio Street.
“Expenses are high,” said Sayat Nova’s Roupen Demirdjian. “We’re living one day at time.”
There is plenty of uncertainty for the Armenian restaurant at 157 E. Ohio St.
“Somehow, we survived 51 years,” Demirdjian said. “I guess we’ll try to make it to 52.”
That is especially the case since the governor’s latest ban is days away and will keep people from sitting at the tables.
“When they said the second surge was coming, I knew it was only a matter of time,” Demirdjian said.
In the Morgan Park neighborhood on the city’s Southwest Side, the owner of Manzo’s Burger, 2353 W. 111th St., relies on his dine-in customers.
“We already had to cut back hours,” said Manzo’s Burger owner Josue Manzo.
He only wants to flip burgers, not see the mayor and governor cooking up steam about his livelihood.
“I wish that the mayor and governor could go back when they were first in this pandemic, where they were both communicating and they knew what was going at the same time,” Manzo said.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Lightfoot issued the following statement:
“Communication is the key to navigating through this crisis. We will continue our efforts to engage with the Governor and his team to better understand their metrics so that we can forge targeted solutions to address the public health challenges here in Chicago and across the state. The Governor and I are aligned that we need residents to mask-up and follow the City and State’s health guidance in order to reverse these recent troubling trends, but we must remain in lockstep when it comes to the rollout of new restrictions. Even amid the pandemic, I urge residents to continue to find ways to support our small businesses and their local communities.”
CBS 2’s Jermont Terry contributed to this report.
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